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Hello everyone.

I'm currently GMing a SR3 campaign and I'm really confused about the doberman drone. I need some clarification.

Size: I suppose a doberman is quite big as a drone, something like an armored scooter. My impression is it looks like this:

The doberman has technically a MINI-TURRETT, an external firmpoint and body 2.

The body 2 means it has also 1 hard point? So technically a Doberman could mount in that hardpoint two LMGs for example? Then add a shotgun in the external firmpoint?

In this case the 2 LMGs would be mounted in the turret?

I assume the presence of the micro-turret means this drone can't mount MMG or heavier weapons.

Looking back at the 1st edition rigger black book it looks that's the intent, but I'm really confused if the doberman is limited to just use the external firmpoint OR you can still use the Body to mount things.

The team wants to gear up one and as a GM I need to understand the rules before them so really thank you for your help.

THANKS A LOT for your help.
Kren Cooper
Going from the stats / info from my copy of Rigger 3, P 173
"The Doberman is a perimeter patrol drone equipped with an external fixed firmpoint and heavy armour" - Handling 3/5, Speed 70, Accel 8, Body 2, Armour 6, Sig 2, Auto 0, Pilot 2, Sensor 1, Cargo 2.5, Load 50

From the "Body Ratings Table" on P62, a Body 2 vehicle is in the range of 75-300kg, and represents "Larger drones (human to troll-size), motorcycles". So I'd say that your picture was well in the right ball park, and I would have no issues if you presented that pic and said "in my game, a Doberman looks like this".

With a body of 2, the vehicle can have *either* 1 hardpoint, or 2 firmpoints - see page 135 Rigger 3.
As far as I can see, the Doberman doesn't come with a turret (at least not in my release / version of R3). However, a mini turret has a requirement of 1 hardpoint (which the drone can manage) and provide a weapon value of 2 - which would then support MMG, HMG, missile or rocket launchers, a harpoon gun or a vindicator minigun inside it, as well as 1CF of ammo bin.

So, my take is that as standard / stock, the Doberman comes with a firmpoint, that you can mount up to an LMG sized weapon in, to provide a fixed, forward firing weapon point. You can get an weapon and combine it with a firearm conversion unit (P136) to mount it on the drone. You can add another weapon the same size if you wish, into the existing space/load on the drone. Or, you can take out the existing firmpoint, and up-gun the chassis with a mini-turret, and add some heavier firepower and get better arcs of fire - but that would take time in a shop / facility doing the work.

Either way, with armour 6, it's proof against most light arms up to shotguns, unless they're packing AV rounds, and at 25K per pop, it's a cheap system to deploy. The main downsides are the lousy signature of 2, and the very basic sensors of 1 - and upgrading the sensors will probably cost you as much again as the drone, and it starts to lose it's shine as a cheap autonomous system.

But, for some Shadowrunners looking to charge through a door with one and lay down suppressive fire from twin linked LMGs and take the initial hits - it's a pretty rocking vehicle, and cheap enough to get replaced if it does take either heavy fire or gets sniped in a weakspot with some pesky enemies doing called shots to bypass armour...
Great breakdown and explanation Kren.

Query though for the original poster Noll: Why the Doberman? It's seen so rarely.
I mean, if the characters are struggling for Nuyen, it makes sense, but the old standbys (Rotodrone with MMG and the Steel Lynx) are so damn powerful, there's a reason why they're a meme.

Just wondering, as it's unusual and I was wondering what the player's thought process was.

Rigger 3 Revised says it has a fixed firmpoint and a remote micro turret. I always assumed it looked like the drawing to the right of its entry, but the picture shows dual weapons on the turret, so who knows. I always figured its size was smaller than a riding lawn mower but larger than a push mower (no handle needed) imagining the deck portion to be more rectangular (no need for circular blade enclosure) with sturdier wheels and the motor portion to be the turret.
Kren Cooper
Yep - Doh, you're right. Don't know why I missed the micro turret. That has a weapon value of 1, so you can sling an assault rifle in there no problem. Still makes a pretty cheap platform for a local rigger to bring some fire support to the party - though I agree that with the same availability and wait times, why wouldn't you go for a Steel Lynx and the extra armour for just a little more cash - unless the GM has some kind of market forces at work in the campaign.
Hello again and thank you for the extensive explaination.

The team rigger wanted a doberman as a niche drone to use in frontal assaults or used in captain chair mode to draw attention somewhere else. She already has her steel lynxes.

Rigger and Vehichle rules are the only part of SR3 that always confused me.

I have another question, a Rigger rigged on a steel lynx, would use the manual gunnery modifier to shoot I guess (unless she wants to use the sensors to target lock something).

Can she use her control pool to fire a weapon or she's limited to combat pool?
Is there any way to bring range magnification into a drone firing system?
Firing with a rigged drone is always going to be a complex action regardless of which method of fire are you using?

Is there anything I should be aware of when a rigger uses a drone?

Thank you guys!
Kren Cooper
I have another question, a Rigger rigged on a steel lynx, would use the manual gunnery modifier to shoot I guess (unless she wants to use the sensors to target lock something).

IF you're shooting manually, then yes - a rigger may choose to do so, to avoid altering the firing vehicles signature or to counteract ECM, or to get quick fire off, avoiding having to spend an action to get a target lock. They would use the gunnery skill if a weapon is vehicle mounted. See Page 151 SR3

Can she use her control pool to fire a weapon or she's limited to combat pool?

From P44 of SR3:
Control Pool
The Control Pool is used by riggers to augment tests strictly relating to controlling a rigged vehicle, such as a Maneuver Test or resisting damage from attacks against a character’s rigged vehicle.
My interpretation of that would be that if leaning out of a window firing an SMG, using a weapon mounted on a pintle, or using a gun chair and firing weapons manually (like the ball turret on a bomber or the dorsal/ventral lasers on the Millenium Falcon) - then no. You can use your smartlink if all the parts are equipped, but you don't get control pool. If you're firing the guns via the rigged system - either directly connected, or via a remote turret, or even a remote deck - then yes. But, by being rigged in, you're liable for dumpshock if the vehicle takes damage.

Is there any way to bring range magnification into a drone firing system?

Have a look at P135 of SR3 where it discusses "sensors" - it details that sensors have a magnification power of Rating X 50 as a maximum. I'd certainly be happy to assume that even level 1 sensors with a X50 magnification is equivalent to an optical zoom 3 scope in terms of lowering range modifiers...
You might also want to look at Clearsight, on P99 of Rigger 3 for helping drones perceive targets more easily and get a lock on them.

Firing with a rigged drone is always going to be a complex action regardless of which method of fire are you using?

Yes. Page 157 of SR3:
Complex Actions
Fire a Weapon System: A rigger may fire an armed weapon on any single drone. (See Sensor-Enhanced Gunnery, p. 152.) If the rigger is directly controlling a primary drone, he cannot perform this action with a secondary drone. Riggers operating through a cybernetic link can use their Combat Pool dice only with the primary drone.

Is there anything I should be aware of when a rigger uses a drone?

Riggers using drones can make things interesting as a GM. On one hand, being able to fly and carry heavy armour can lead to them bypassing threat / challenge in your adventure, and make things far too easy to deal with. On the other hand, damage to drones is costly and can soak up huge amounts of the pay for a job.
Be prepared to come up with scenarios that don't penalise the rigger for being a rigger - but provides some challenges. Static in the air, faraday cages, or electrical storms can all limit or affect remote operation, making things harder (but not impossible). Beware - an armoured drone may just be immune to small arms fire and allow the entire party to hide behind a shield - but also the second you put a goon in your run firing AV from his Ares Alpha, it's quite likely the drone is going to get taken out and write off 30K of drone in one hit, and give your rigger dumpshock. Perhaps find and steer your drone activity into surveillance, quarterbacking a play or providing tactical overviews, or countering enemy drone activity, or give them an environment where say only a small drone is suitable / possible. On the other hand, you can have the drone be the only way the players stand a chance - have them all huddling behind the steel lynx as it spangs the regular fire from 30+ mafia goons unloading fully auto on it - making it clear to the players that they're salami if they get caught in that firepower, and the rigger has to drive like he's a mobile bunker as he's the only thing saving their ass.
Try to strike a balance between situations where the rigger has to be very careful with what they do / can't use their drones for plot/environmental reasons, can operate normally, or becomes the gods of the encounter and completely dominate - and they'll always have to think about the situation and try to work out what "mode" they're in, and how much risk they want to take. At least, that's my 2p worth. I try to do the same for the other archetypes - everyone gets a scenario where they really get to flex and shine, and show off their skills from time to time - and conversely, they sometimes get into a situation that neuters their abilities and they have to either RP their way out, or rely on the team members (who are getting their turn in the spotlight to look cool)...
Just another thought - and to be honest, it's been done to death in many threads:

Magic = Drone Kryptonite. Shamen with spirits and lightning are DEATH to a non-prepared rigger.

On the other hand:

Drones = Magic Kryptonite, As a mage isn't going to outgun, or outrun a rigger that's loaded and first on the initiative table.

It's all preparation - GM's have to juggle these in a believable way, and make them interesting, like the millennium bees (I think they were called that, they are attracted to electrical substations and eddy currents) and the goddamned Thunderbird (Bane to any rigger in a UCAS desert.) or storm dolphins.

Sure, a Faraday cage is a low-tech way to shut peepers in, which is why you invested in that ultra-low tech cable-roll dispenser at the rear of the drone you're captaining. Storms happen, static happens, but the GM has to make sure it's an easy swallowed reason, not just "You play your toy too well, so chew on this".

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